Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 1 preview

Map and profile

Renato Laghi says

I rode the Giro 12 times and we never once did a traditional team time trial. Vincenzo Torriani, the race director, didn’t like them, but we did a relay time trial once...

It was the first stage of the 1971 Giro and it started down in Puglia, at Lecce. Torriani was forever having strange ideas and this one involved each rider doing 6km, then passing on to the next one. You had 10-man teams back then, so the race was 60km all told, finishing in Brindisi. Salvarani won it and there were 10 pink jerseys in the peloton the following day.

My guess is that Orica-GreenEdge or BMC will win this. Orica won it last year in Belfast and they don’t have a real GC rider, so they’ll be set up for it and focussed on winning it. It’s the first maglia rosa, so for them it’s a really big day.

Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 1 profile

Moment in time
The 1961 Giro is often overlooked. That’s because it ought to have been a showdown between the champions Charly Gaul and Jacques Anquetil, but wasn’t. Instead Arnaldo Pambianco won it. He kept getting in breaks, the two of them kept ignoring them and by the time they woke up it was too late. Stage 1 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Italian republic by finishing in Turin, its
first capital. It did so as Teddy Kennedy, the US president’s kid brother, rolled into town. While he was at Expo ’61 breaking bread with the Agnelli family, owners of FIAT, a Torinese neopro named Franco Balmamion tried to make a name for himself. Most paid him no heed until the Spanish sprinter-roadman Miguel Poblet countered with Pambianco.

They caught Balmamion at the death and it was a foreigner, wily old Poblet, who pulled on the specially designed maglia rosa (with tricolore piping on the collar and cuffs) under a Torinese deluge. It was a smart move and at the ripe old age of
33 he’d rained on Italy’s parade.

Poblet had been a fabulous rider. He’d twice won Milano-Sanremo, his signature race, and was tickled pink by the idea of wearing the maglia rosa there for the conclusion of stage 2. In this, his swansong season, he’d bid farewell to the Via Roma in style and give it one last shove in the sprint. And you know what? He only went and won the darned thing.

Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 1 route map

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